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Old Nov 7, 2012, 05:05 AM   #1
hgrunst
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Question Unsatisfactory display. Can/should I use Thunderbolt?

Agree that the monitor situation with mac minis is rather complicated.

I just bought a new mac mini (Nov. 2012) from an Apple shop, and am unhappy with the display quality, especially of small text. Its very smudgy compared to what I'm used to using the same monitor (LG Flatron L1942H) on an old Windows machine.

Spent a lot of time calibrating the mini's output using the system preferences. The grayscales are now usable (I can see the faint frames round disabled buttons), but the display still seems rather snowy.

The monitor is connected using the HDMI to DVI-D adapter which came with the mini.

Thunderbolt to DVI-D adapters also exist. Can I use one to connect to my L1942H? Would the display quality then improve?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 08:31 AM   #2
Negritude
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Is the monitor in PC mode (overscan disabled)?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 08:40 AM   #3
DitteVilladsen
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Explain to me the different between PC and MAC mode. Do modern Macintoshes require MAC mode? Or was that something for before the Mac changed its default gamma setting to the same as PCs?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:20 AM   #4
Sir Ruben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DitteVilladsen View Post
Explain to me the different between PC and MAC mode. Do modern Macintoshes require MAC mode? Or was that something for before the Mac changed its default gamma setting to the same as PCs?
My monitor has a mac mode too. I tried it and it altered the colours. Not exactly sure what the purpose of it is though?? I have a Dell Ultrasharp.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 10:36 AM   #5
hgrunst
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@Negritude: The monitor (LG L1942H) has no setting for overscan.

I'm also wondering if I should be using a monitor with a native HDMI input. Maybe HDMI is too fast for DVI? If that's the case, then I would/should not have bought the mini at all. The whole point was, as Apple says, that I should be able to use the apparatus I already have. The Apple shop certainly did not caution me about possible display quality problems when using 3rd party monitors.

Is the HDMI output really only intended for Televisions (viewed at long distance)? Or should it be possible to produce output good enough for desktop use?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by hgrunst View Post
@Negritude: The monitor (LG L1942H) has no setting for overscan.

I'm also wondering if I should be using a monitor with a native HDMI input. Maybe HDMI is too fast for DVI? If that's the case, then I would/should not have bought the mini at all. The whole point was, as Apple says, that I should be able to use the apparatus I already have. The Apple shop certainly did not caution me about possible display quality problems when using 3rd party monitors.

Is the HDMI output really only intended for Televisions (viewed at long distance)? Or should it be possible to produce output good enough for desktop use?
There are many posts about issues with the HDMI port on the new 2012 Mac Mini's. I believe the consensus is to use a Thunderbolt to HDMI (or DVI) adapter which can be had for less than $10 from many retailers. And no, there is no difference between DVI and HDMI from a video stand point. HDMI is simply DVI + Audio.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by paulrbeers View Post
There are many posts about issues with the HDMI port on the new 2012 Mac Mini's. I believe the consensus is to use a Thunderbolt to HDMI (or DVI) adapter which can be had for less than $10 from many retailers. And no, there is no difference between DVI and HDMI from a video stand point. HDMI is simply DVI + Audio.
I'm also going to go the TB-HDMI route. Not sure about the text but it'll be interesting if the dropouts cease. I ordered a couple of these.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 07:56 PM   #8
Negritude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DitteVilladsen View Post
Explain to me the different between PC and MAC mode. Do modern Macintoshes require MAC mode? Or was that something for before the Mac changed its default gamma setting to the same as PCs?
"PC" mode simply means that the monitor works as a monitor and not a TV. The problem that many people are having with their monitors when connecting via HDMI is that the monitor is being detected as a TV and not a monitor. You need to put it in a mode where it just scans, and doesn't overscan or underscan.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:22 PM   #9
Snowcake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hgrunst View Post
Agree that the monitor situation with mac minis is rather complicated.

I just bought a new mac mini (Nov. 2012) from an Apple shop, and am unhappy with the display quality, especially of small text. Its very smudgy compared to what I'm used to using the same monitor (LG Flatron L1942H) on an old Windows machine.

Spent a lot of time calibrating the mini's output using the system preferences. The grayscales are now usable (I can see the faint frames round disabled buttons), but the display still seems rather snowy.

The monitor is connected using the HDMI to DVI-D adapter which came with the mini.

Thunderbolt to DVI-D adapters also exist. Can I use one to connect to my L1942H? Would the display quality then improve?
Are you using the recommended resolution for your display?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 11:31 PM   #10
DitteVilladsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Negritude View Post
"PC" mode simply means that the monitor works as a monitor and not a TV. The problem that many people are having with their monitors when connecting via HDMI is that the monitor is being detected as a TV and not a monitor. You need to put it in a mode where it just scans, and doesn't overscan or underscan.
Thanks. I'm connecting my Mac mini via DisplayPort. Does it matter which one I use? I haven't seen TV detection, even when I briefly used an HDMI cable, although I'm not sure what setting I was using since I was fooling around with all the settings.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 03:54 AM   #11
hgrunst
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@Snowcake: Yes, the monitor is using the correct resolution.

Following the advice of the support telephone, I've decided to take the whole setup and the monitor back to the Apple shop where I bought the mini a week ago. Unfortunately, its not possible to fix an appointment as advertised, so I'm hoping the queue is not too long. The shop is 45 minutes away by tram.

I want to see the difference between HDMI and Thunderbolt before investing in a possibly useless adapter. They cost 29 here. Actually, I think Apple ought to give me one for nothing, since they have sold me a system which does not otherwise work. If this was a car, it would be called in to be repaired.

Keeping cool though.

I'll let you all know how I get on.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 05:57 PM   #12
hgrunst
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First, lots of praise for the organisation and staff at the Apple shop. There were plenty of them, and they provided a very friendly service under tough conditions (lots of customers, all wanting attention and answers to different questions). Very good that the staff are not dependent on getting a commission on the things they sell. Banks could take a leaf out of that book!
The main objective really seems to be to see that customers are happy with what they buy - or don't buy.

Back to my case:

Using the Thunderbolt-DVI adapter resulted in hardly any improvement over the HDMI-DVI adapter. And, taking a closer look at Apple's desktop monitors, it seemed to me that they were also not much better. There were however differences between individual monitors, presumably because some of them needed calibrating better.
The small screens (laptops downwards) are all crystal clear and very beautiful, but text displayed on the larger ones is simply not as crisp as on a machine designed for that purpose. I take it that Windows machines have developed mostly with text in mind, while Apple's background is in graphics (Photoshop etc.).
I spend hours in front of a monitor, working mostly with text, so a couple of hours after entering the shop, I decided to give up and return the Mini completely. This is possible here within the first two weeks of the sale.
Better to go for a solution tailored more closely to my (desktop/text) requirements.
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